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13 March 2010 No Comment

by Ronel Coetser

If you as many of us, don’t get enough time to check on the state of your plants on a weekly basis, pests will flourish!

The trick is to nip the problem in the bud the moment you notice the first signs of disease or insect activity.

At some point all garden enthusiasts battle with pests and disease. A garden pest can be a weed, an animal, an insect or disease and come in all shapes and sizes. Some cute and other not so appealing!

The havoc and devastation they create can be very costly.

There are ways to prevent pests and diseases by simply making sure you buy and plant healthy plants. Soil health is also very important.

If you do not keep to a seasonal upgrade of soil with manure or organic compost, the soil become a breeding ground for all kinds of diseases.

Planting the right plant in the right position and in the best soil possible will aid the plant in its growth.

First check what pH the plant prefers and then test the soil.

The plants will be healthy and be able to fight off the onslaught of pests and diseases.

You can plant garlic, spring-onions or for a more permanent solution, Tulbaghia around roses or in vegetable gardens.

It is always easier to prevent than to eliminate. Your first step will be the correct identification of the particular pest or disease.

If you apply the wrong pesticide to the problem you have solved nothing and spent unnecessary money.

I find that most good nurseries will be able to identify the problem if you take a sample of the effected plant with.

They will then also be able to tell you what to use and how often.

Some of the insecticide manufacturers have excellent material available at their stands in nurseries or hardware stores.

If you love roses you know you have your work cut out for you!

Roses need constant monitoring and spraying. They can be affected by both bacterial disease and fungus.

Beetles, aphids, worms and borers can also become a problem.

As already mentioned checking on a daily or at least weekly basis will give you an advantage to identify and treat the problems before they become a plague!

For roses I find a product developed by rose-growers very good although costly. Try some organic and homemade solutions.

Try beer for snails! They don’t seem to be able to resist a bowl of beer put out for them. Just remember to bury the bowl slightly so that the rim is level with the soil.

They are drawn to the yeast and then drown once in the bowl!

Send an e-mail or phone me for my tried and tested recipes. I have also developed an easy to understand chart that helps in the identification of pests and diseases that I will make available to readers.

Many of the ladies in the garden-club don’t stick to the weekly program of spraying as indicated by the insecticide manufacturer and then find the problem surfaces again.

If some spores of the fungus are left, they will grow again under the right conditions.

Weeds in grass are better removed by hand on a weekly basis in the peak growth season.

The trick is to remove the complete, roots and all weed before it seeds. As we know weeds seed more often and mowing the lawn aggravates the problem as it scatters the seeds and the weed problem becomes wide-spread.

If you prefer to spray weeds make sure you know what the difference between the grassy and broadleaf weeds are.

There are specific poisons for these as their roots systems are different.

Again ask the nurseries or hardware stores for advice in how to treat your weed problem.

Try to keep up a weekly weeding program as weeds left unchecked will spread and become a serious problem.

Start weeding!

For more information contact me on telephone 012-365 1048 / 082 948 2139 or e-mail to ronelck@telkomsa.net

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